Sexual assault is another name given to rape, but it also includes other crimes of a sexual nature. Generally, it is a nonconsensual sexual act that includes intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or the touching of another person’s genitals or other intimate body parts, or even kissing, without consent.
Sexual assault is also included by other states as sexual battery or criminal sexual behavior. Depending on the state and the nature of the offense, a sexual assault can be charged as a misdemeanor in some instances, but is typically a felony offense.
Sexual Assault as Misdemeanor
In jurisdictions where sexual assault can be charged as a misdemeanor, there is usually no intercourse or sexual penetration involved. It will usually involve touching another person’s intimate parts for sexual arousal, gratification or even abuse, but while the victim is wearing clothes and without penetration.
Consent to a sexual act must be voluntary and knowing. A person rendered unconscious by alcohol or drugs, or who is under threat or duress, is incapable of giving consent, as is a person with a mental disability or who is physically helpless. Persons involved in an intimate relationship or even married do not automatically give consent to any sexual contact.
Sexual Assault as Felony
Nonconsensual sexual contact with the victim’s bare skin or any penetration will usually elevate a sexual assault charge to a felony.
A felony sexual battery or assault also takes place when the victim is unlawfully restrained and the perpetrator performs a sexual act on the victim or is touched on his or her intimate parts.
Sexual Assault of a Minor
Sexual contact of a minor under a certain age, depending on the state, is generally an aggravated sexual assault. For example, in California an aggravated offense is committed if the minor is under 14, but the offender must be at least 7 years older than the minor. The offender can still be charged with sexual assault or unlawful sexual intercourse, if it occurred, with a minor. The penetration can be digital or with an object.
An aggravated sexual conviction will require the offender to permanently register as a sex offender.
A misdemeanor sexual assault conviction will generally carry jail time of 6-months to one year along with counseling and probation.
Felonies range from 2 years in state prison up to 20 years or more, especially if a minor is the victim.
Also, a sexual assault or battery is committed each time the nonconsensual contact takes place. If a person rubs himself against a person’s intimate parts on three separate occasions, he or she has committed the offense three times and can be sentenced separately on each.
Sexual assault is a serious crime with substantial prison time and drastic collateral consequences that can permanently affect your life. You need competent and skilled legal representation from criminal defense attorney James Silverstein if you face sexual assault charges. Call the office of James Silverstein today for a free consultation.